Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?
Take advantage of Black Friday with 15% off sitewide with coupon code "BLACKFRIDAY" on Slashdot Deals (some exclusions apply)". ×

Submission + - Comcast to Acquire Time Warner Cable for $45 Billion (nytimes.com) 1

davidannis writes:

Comcast is expected to announce on Thursday an agreement to acquire Time Warner Cable for more than $45 billion in stock, a deal that would combine the biggest and second-biggest cable television operators in the country. For Comcast, which completed its acquisition of NBC Universal, the television and movie powerhouse, from General Electric less than a year ago, the latest deal would be its second big act to radically reshape the media landscape in the United States. And the merger is almost certain to bring to an end a protracted takeover battle that Charter Communications has been waging for Time Warner Cable.

For consumers, this means an even larger company with a reputation for poor customer service aggressively lobbying against things like net neutrality.

Submission + - Former NSA Bigwig Jokes About Snowden Assination 1

sl4shd0rk writes: Apparently it's business as usual for the NSA as former Director Michael Hayden made jokes during a Washington Post-sponsored event about "darker moments" when there was a "different list" he would have put Edward Snowden on. The audience laughed and (R-Mich) Republican Mike Rogers responded in kind saying "I can help you with that". Also brought out as a topic for discussion were the subject of targeted killings and assasinations. Apparently, there is very little remorse at the NSA for the myriad of US laws which have been broken, and seemingly very little regard for the future if this is any indicator of what lies ahead.

Submission + - Did SOPA supporters really distribute files sharin (youtube.com) 1

An anonymous reader writes: A very interesting video over on youtube from JeepersMedia, who claims that the companies that are pushing for SOPA are the very same companies that pushed file sharing software. Much of the presented evidence appears to come from the wayback machine site.

Their assertion is that the same media companies who now cry about rampant piracy, and who declared that file sharing software ONLY existed for copyright infringement — ALSO appear to have supplied the software. Better still, is that the reviews appear to show that they tested by copying — wait for it — copyrighted songs (Beatles, Britney Spears, etc.) And that their own sites provided links to download copyrighted material.


Submission + - China Calls for Even Firmer Internet Control (reuters.com)

eldavojohn writes: "Chinese state media has published a long article detailing why China needs to take even firmer stances on sites like Twitter and the internet as a whole or risk backlash to The Communist Party from "Internet Opinion." The commentary warned, 'Unless administration is vigorous, criminal forces, hostile forces, terrorist organizations and others could manipulate public sentiment by manufacturing bogus opinion on the Internet, damaging social stability and national security.' China seized upon the London riots recently to justify tighter internet censorship. The article, of course, ends with the conclusion that 'Clearly, in the future when developing and applying new Internet technologies, there must first be a thorough assessment, adopting even more prudent policies and enhancing foresight and forward thinking in administration.' While this provides China with their Emmanuel Goldstein and his Brotherhood, it should be noted that the People's Daily is often over the top."

Submission + - Senate Passes Landmark Patent Reform Bill (earthweb.com)

inkscapee writes: The US Senate is congratulating itself for passing a 'landmark' piece of patent reform legislation. Some key elements are 'first to file' instead of first to invent, and ending fee diversion, which means fees paid to the Patent Office will actually fund the Patent Office. Curiously, this practice has resulted in a backlog of 700,000 patent applications. The House is reportedly working on a similar bill, and soon harmony and rationality will triumph.

Oregon Senator Stops Internet Censorship Bill 315

comforteagle writes "Senator Wyden of Oregon has objected to a bill in committee that if passed would have given the government the ability to censor the Internet. His objection effectively stop its current passing, forcing it to be introduced again if the bill is to continue — which it may not. Oregonians, please send this man pats on the back."

10 Oddly Useful Specialty Web Browsers 72

snydeq writes "InfoWorld's Peter Wayner looks beyond Firefox, Chrome, Opera, Safari, and IE to uncover 10 alternative browsers that offer specialized advantages for 3-D searching, social networking, easy scriptability, powerful page manipulation, and the like. Each provides a targeted browsing environment, enabling users to browse Web tables into spreadsheets, browse leaner, browser in text, browse socially, browse musically, or browse smarter on the Mac. 'A purist might object that these hybrids are not much different from a standard browser with extra plug-ins. There's some truth to this, but not always — some of the unique capabilities can only be done deep inside the software. In any case, the job of parsing the terms and creating an exact definition of the Web browser isn't as much fun as embracing the idea that there are dozens of alternatives.'"

MS Gives Free Licenses To Oppressed Nonprofits 151

victorl19 writes "Microsoft is vastly expanding its efforts to prevent governments from using software piracy inquiries as a pretext to suppress dissent. It plans to provide free software licenses to more than 500,000 advocacy groups, independent media outlets and other nonprofit organizations in 12 countries with tightly controlled governments, including Russia and China."

US Copyright Group — Lawsuits, DDoS, and Bomb Threats 365

Andorin writes "The US law firm of Dunlap, Grubb, & Weaver, otherwise known as the US Copyright Group, filed suit at the end of August against another 2,177 individuals for allegedly downloading and sharing the slasher film Cornered! (In total the USCG has now filed suit against over 16,200 individuals.) In retaliation, Operation Payback, the Anonymous-led project responsible for DDoSing websites of the RIAA and MPAA, targeted the US Copyright Group's website with a DDoS, temporarily bringing it down for a few hours. The group behind the attacks say they'll continue 'until they stop being angry.' Additionally, the local police department evacuated the office of Dunlap, Grubb, & Weaver after a bomb threat was emailed to the firm. The building was searched, but no bomb was found."

White House Pressuring Registrars To Block Sites 569

An anonymous reader writes "While the Senate is still debating a bill that would force registrars and ISPs to block access to sites deemed 'infringing,' it appears that the White House's IP Czar is already holding meetings with ISPs, registrars and payment processors to start voluntarily blocking access to sites it doesn't like. Initially, they're focused on online pharmacies, but does anyone think it will only be limited to such sites? ICANN apparently has refused to attend the meetings, pointing out that they're 'inappropriate.' Doesn't it seem wrong for the US government to be pushing private companies to censor the Internet without due process?"

UK ISPs To Pay 25% of Copyright Enforcement Costs 255

Andorin writes "The UK's Department of Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) has released a report (PDF) related to the new Digital Economy Act. The debate between copyright holders and ISPs about who should front the costs for the enforcement of the Act's anti-piracy provisions has come to a close: Rights holders will pay 75% of the copyright enforcement costs, with the remaining 25% of the bill going to ISPs (and therefore their customers). Says the Minister for Communications, Ed Vaizey: 'Protecting our valuable creative industries, which have already suffered significant losses as a result of people sharing digital content without paying for it, is at the heart of these measures... We expect the measures will benefit our creative economy by some £200m per year and as rights holders are the main beneficiaries of the system, we believe our decision on costs is proportionate to everyone involved.' Not surprisingly, some ISPs and consumer groups are up in arms about the decision, with one ISP calling it a government subsidy of the entertainment industries."

ACLU Sues To Protect Your Right To Swear Screenshot-sm 698

The ACLU is suing the police in Pennsylvania for issuing tickets to people who swear. They argue that it is every American's constitutional right to drop an F-bomb. From the article: "'Unfortunately, many police departments in the commonwealth do not seem to be getting the message that swearing is not a crime,' said Marieke Tuthill of the ACLU of Pennsylvania. 'The courts have repeatedly found that profanity, unlike obscenity, is protected speech.'" This is a big f*cking deal.

US House Passes Ban On Caller ID Spoofing 171

smarek writes "The 'Truth in Caller ID Act' passed the US House of Representatives on Wednesday. The legislation is trying to outlaw Caller ID spoofing. In some cases, this spoofing has led to individuals giving out information that has led to identity theft. Last year the NYPD discovered over 6,000 victims of Caller ID spoofing, who together lost a total of $15 million. A companion bill has already been passed by the Senate, and the two are on their way to 'informal conference to reconcile any differences.' The bill that results will most likely pass." PCWorld's coverage notes that callers will still be able to block their information entirely, and that the bill may have negative consequences for legitimate phone-related services, such as Google Voice.

American Lung Association Pushes For Ban On Electronic Cigarettes 790

Anarki2004 writes "The American Lung Association is jumping on board the ban-E-cigs-train. From the article: 'So, while the ALA admitted that electronic cigarettes contain fewer chemicals than tobacco cigarettes, they refuse to acknowledge the obvious health benefit that lack of the most toxic chemicals provides to the smokers who switch. Are lives and lung health the real issue here or is nicotine addiction? The ALA must know that numerous studies show that, absent the tobacco smoke, nicotine is relatively harmless and comparable to caffeine. The American Heart Association acknowledges that nicotine is "safe" in other smoke-free forms such as patches or gum.' For those of you not in the know, electronic cigarettes (also called personal vaporizers) are a nicotine delivery device that resembles a cigarette in shape and size, but does not burn tobacco. It is less a expensive alternative to the traditional tobacco cigarette that is by all appearances (though not thoroughly researched) also healthier."

Son Sues Mother Over Facebook Posts Screenshot-sm 428

Most kids hate having their parents join in on a discussion on Facebook, but one 16-year-old in Arkansas hates it so much he has filed suit against his mother, charging her with harassment. From the article: "An Arkadelphia mother is charged with harassment for making entries on her son's Facebook page. Denise New's 16-year-old son filed charges against her last month and requested a no-contact order after he claims she posted slanderous entries about him on the social networking site. New says she was just trying to monitor what he was posting." Seems like he could just unfriend her.

"What people have been reduced to are mere 3-D representations of their own data." -- Arthur Miller